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Disability Action Center NW

FEMA HAS ACCESSIBILITY ADVANCEMENTS

The ADA guides FEMA’s commitment to improving services and programs to be equitably available to people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. FEMA makes sure all programs are accessible to all disaster survivors. Administrator Deanne Criswell said, “From ensuring survivors in wheelchairs can access our disaster recovery centers, to updating our websites to support screen readers, to offering sign language interpretation, our commitment to meaningful and full access to our programs is driven by our core values of compassion, fairness, integrity and respect.”

To support the disability community, FEMA made equity in emergency management a priority. Improvements include: Improved survivor registration intake process nationwide, expanding disability-related questions, making it easier for people with disabilities impacted by disasters to get the assistance they need. They have updated their app in both English and Spanish, and it is screen reader compatible. The user interface is redesigned for various screen widths and uses plain language. They have designed programs, services, policies and procedures to include the needs of people with disabilities before disasters happen, rather than solely reacting to barriers that are identified during response and recovery. And within their own center they have updated bathrooms and pantries with touchless paper towels, soap dispensers and automatic water faucets, repositioned the accessible restroom stall from the back of the restroom to the first position, added a second ramp, and added a new hearing-assisted system for employees who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. FEMA works in the larger emergency management community to be fully inclusive, and celebrates that the ADA makes continued progress possible.

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